Check ambulance membership

AS Victoria stands in a midst of a health crisis it is a timely reminder to ensure your Ambulance Victoria membership is up-to-date.

For those with private health insurance, it is important to ensure that your level of cover includes medical transport services – and if so, does it also include non-emergency transport?

These are questions you need to be asking to avoid a nasty shock at an often already tough time.

For less than $100 annually for families or $49.08 for singles, you could save yourself thousands in transport fees.

You can sign up or renew your Ambulance Victoria membership at or call 1300 366 141.

Danny O’Brien MP

State Member for Gippsland South

Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Health, Shadow Assistant Minister for Ambulance Services

Condolences on the passing of Jane Garrett

JANE Garrett, the ALP Legislative Council Member for Eastern Victoria Region, sadly passed away from breast cancer prematurely at the age of 49 on July 2, 2022.

On her appointment in 2018 as the Legislative Council member representing Eastern Victoria in Parliament, she said it was a privilege to focus “on the issues that matter most to our community: access to healthcare, education, jobs and support for our regions”.

As a result, she was subsequently involved in numerous negotiations to promote industries and save jobs in various industries across Eastern Gippsland, ASH Timber in Heyfield being one of them.

Late Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett, pictured third from left at Sale United Football Club in 2019, is being remembered by the Sale Labor Party Branch. Photo: File

Ms Garrett had previously served as a Minister for Emergency Services under Dan Andrews. However, following a period of fiercely waged industrial negotiations in the fire services, she resigned her ministry in 2016. However, Ms Garrett, who was widely respected by both ALP and opposition MPs, remained a fierce advocate for social justice, including a bully-free workplace. For example, after shifting to the Legislative Council in 2018, she commissioned an investigation into allegations of bullying in the fire services. Unfortunately, this report has not yet been issued.

In extending condolences to her family, former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks referred to Ms Garrett as a “true champion”.

She will indeed be remembered as an MP who worked hard to implement Labor values by making a difference to the lives of her constituents. In particular, she will be respectfully remembered by the members of the Central Gippsland Labor branch.

Dr Jillian Carroll

Secretary of the Sale Labor Party Branch

Measures are ineffective

UNPRECEDENTED and ineffective enforcement measures are being implemented in schools across Australia to combat youth vaping, threatening to distress and alienate students.

The onus is being placed on our teachers, and the government is doing little to combat the problem. Education campaigns are only perpetuating wildly incorrect myths about vaping.

We are failing the next generation, and the government must urgently step in to effectively combat youth vaping.

Dr Colin Mendelsohn

Smoking Cessation Guideline Expert Advisory Group


Guide Dogs PAWGUST

AS more of us return to working at the office, a new survey by Guide Dogs Australia reveals that three in five dog owners have worried about how getting back to work outside the home might be impacting their dogs.

Opting to work from the office and increased social lives are taking away from the time our dogs treasure. But with two-thirds of Aussie dogs displaying unfavourable new behaviours as owners return to the office, puppy parents are encouraged to walk the talk.

The survey was conducted for PAWGUST, a campaign in its fifth year that is inviting the public to give back to their best mates and beat the guilt by committing to a 30-minute walk together every day in August.

According to this new Guide Dogs survey, it’s not just our dogs that are suffering from this lack of walks. A quarter of dog owners feel guilty daily, and a similar proportion feel it weekly.

All this when dog owners could be reaping the emotional rewards of a brisk walk with a four-legged friend. Over 90 per cent of dog owners agreed this is something that boosts their mood.

This year it takes on a special meaning. Mid-lockdown PAWGUST survey findings revealed over 80 per cent of Australians were relying on their dogs for emotional support throughout 2020. Now lockdowns have lifted, it’s our dogs’ turn to rely on their owners to get them through a time of significant change by making a walk a day a part of their routine this August.

Dog owners around the country can now give back by signing up to PAWGUST. By getting friends and family to sponsor them, they will also contribute to raising and training Guide Dogs, which cost more than $50,000 per dog to breed, raise and train but provide years of independence and companionship to someone with blindness or low vision.

At Guide Dogs we are always grateful to our dogs, and PAWGUST is about encouraging Australians to join us by getting the steps in with their four-legged friend while raising money to help us raise and train more Guide Dogs at the same time.


Ryan Jones

Guide Dogs Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Talk has shifted

RECENTLY there has been a great deal of mention in the media concerning the various views held by political parties regarding dealing with the timing factor in relation to emission reduction targets.

The redeeming factor, that comes out of these variations of opinion, is that it now appears that all our major political parties are indicating belief that human induced climate change is real, and a major problem to deal with.

A few years ago it was obvious, within the political sphere, that doubt existed as to whether human caused climate change was a reality.

Now that a general acceptance that human induced climate change is a reality, has been reached, great progress can be expected to be made in relation to climate change in the near future.

It is no longer if, now the talk is, how and when.

Brian Measday

Myrtle Bank, South Australia

Upgraded hospitals will save lives

NEW and upgraded hospitals and more beds to treat vulnerable Victorians desperate to shake the insidious claws of drug and alcohol addiction will change lives and save lives.

Regional Victorians were already facing poorer health outcomes before the pandemic put monumental pressure on our health workforce.

The past two years of uncertainty and surgery bans have left health workers exhausted and forced sick people to wait in pain as they’re stuck in a line of more than 80,000 Victorians on hospital waitlists.

Labor has been in power for 20 of the past 24 years. They are the ones that got us into this mess. They won’t be the ones to get us out of it.

Only a change in government in November will shift the focus to a policy agenda that will deliver a healthcare system that’s fair, properly resourced and accessible for us all.

The Nationals in government have promised reforms to unlock more health care workers to renew the depleted workforce, including with the nation’s largest recruitment drive.

This drive will see more scholarships on offer to enable more people to study, extra training places opened for psychologists and psychiatrists and relocation incentives to join the workforce.

The Nationals’ plan to rebuild healthcare in Victoria will also look to the long-term, with funding allocated for new and upgraded hospitals at Mildura, Warragul, Wodonga and St Arnaud, with more announcements to come.

It will also see a new Infectious Diseases Response Centre for Melbourne.

And we’ll make sure Victorians can access support to get out of addiction and get their lives back on track with new residential rehabilitation centres, including at the Latrobe Valley, Shepparton, Mildura and Warrnambool.

We deserve a healthcare system in regional Victoria that keeps up with growing demand and is properly resourced to take care of the health of our families and communities.

It’s time we got our fair share. We deserve a better deal. Only The Nationals in government in November will get it done.

Peter Walsh

Leader of The Nationals